The Loh Down On Science

Navy Seals

Sensors glued to the heads of elephant seals are giving researchers an unprecedented amount of data about conditions underneath the icy polar regions.

But can a NAVY seal. . . do this?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

The effects of climate change are tough to predict--especially in the iced-over poles! Forget ultra-precise robotic floats and satellite imagery-- Even the most sophisticated data-collecting technology hasn't gotten past this Thick White Crust.

So Antarctic researchers called on a HIGHLY COMPLEX NEW TOOL. Mr. Elephant Seal.

The scientists glued sensors to the heads of fifty-eight elephant seals.

The headgear measured water temperature, depth, salinity, and pressure, every four seconds. The data was then beamed to a database whenever the animal surfaced. As it surfaced, the animal's location was also recorded.

And ... Problem solved! The beasties traveled about thirty miles a day, diving down to six thousand feet. In a matter of months, the diving seals provided THIRTY TIMES more data for the ice zone than previous conventional methods.

The information gathered by the seals will be used to determine currents, ice dynamics, and other factors. It'll help predict how they could change. . . TOMORROW.

Plus, there's the jaunty balancing of the balls on the noses! As though that weren't enough.


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